Gil Roberts, a U.S. Olympic 400m runner, successfully argued that kissing his girlfriend led to him unknowingly ingesting a banned substance and failing a March drug test.
Roberts, a Rio 4x400m relay gold medalist, was provisionally suspended in May after both his A and B samples from a March 24 test came back positive. He had a small amount of the well-known banned masking agent probenecid in his system.
On June 20, an arbitrator cleared Roberts of wrongdoing, allowing him to compete at the USATF Outdoor Championships two days later. Roberts finished second in the 400m in a personal-best time, qualifying for the world championships in London in August.
Roberts, who has never before tested positive, argued that he ingested probenecid through “frequently and passionately” kissing his girlfriend in the day(s) leading up to his March 24 test, according to an arbitration decision.
On March 14, Roberts’ girlfriend received a sinus infection medication labeled Moxylong in semi-rural India.
She continued to take the medicine after arriving in the U.S., including on March 24, about three hours before Roberts’ out-of-competition drug test.
The arbiter decision document stated that Roberts and his girlfriend kissed between the time she took the medication and when Roberts provided a urine sample, including when Roberts told his girlfriend that he was leaving the room to be tested.
“Roberts could not count the number of times they kissed between 1 p.m. and the doping control officer’s arrival [at 4:07],” the decision read. “He had no idea that kissing his girlfriend could lead to his ingesting a prohibited substance. When he kissed her he did not remember the taste of medicine in her mouth.”
Roberts’ girlfriend later googled Moxylong and found that it contained probenecid.
An arbitrator accepted Roberts’ story.
He was not banned, in part to consideration of previous, similar cases of tennis player Richard Gasquet and pole vaulter Shawn Barber failing drug tests for cocaine after kissing women who had used the drug.
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